The City File | City File | Chicago Reader

News & Politics » City File

The City File


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Death by delay: "More than 80 species, including the Texas Henslow's sparrow and the Wyoming toad, have been declared extinct while waiting to be placed on the endangered species list." (Endangered Species Act Reauthorization Bulletin, August 28, 1987)

The city that doesn't work. Report from Fosco Park, near Roosevelt and Racine, in the Friends of the Parks Newsletter (Fall 1987): "Windows in the fieldhouse's basement recreation room were blown out during a severe windstorm seven years ago and replaced by boards that still remain in place today. Consequently, when it rains, it pours through the cracks and crevices in the boards, sometimes flooding . . . the recreation room. The [neighborhood's newly formed] advisory council is lobbying to replace the boarded windows with glass. It is also intent on improving the landscaping of the baseball fields, which have been flooded by broken plumbing for years."

But what about my Dr. Ruth? World Book, Inc., Merchandise Mart-based publisher of the top-selling encyclopedia of the same name, has announced that any area flood victims whose encyclopedias were destroyed by high water can receive a free replacement by turning in their damaged sets.

Commerce vs. industry, round 1. "Ironically, commercial development of retail sites is occurring at a time when many industries are leaving the city for lack of adequate real estate," writes James S. Lemonides in Greater North Pulaski Business Times (August/September '87). "During the last five years, the former Uniroyal factory, at 2636 N. Pulaski, was demolished; it remains idle while the owner awaits retail leases. A viable manufacturing plant at Barry and Pulaski was cleared to make way for Barry Plaza, which after more than a year, remains only one-third leased. Much of the former W.F. Hall printing plant, 4600 W. Diversey, will be cleared for commercial use, although a portion will be preserved for industrial tenants. . . . Preserving industrial sites for industrial reuse can help stem the urban industrial exodus and retain higher paying jobs in the city."

Take our garbage--please. "Persons in Chicago and Cook county generate about 18 million cubic yards of refuse annually," according to Progress (September 1987), newsletter of the state Environmental Protection Agency. "Approximately 22 percent of this [4 million cubic yards, or 11,000 cubic yards a day] is exported to other areas."

"AIDS makes one's fantasy life all the more important," Playboy's Christie Hefner tells Fortune (October 12, 1987). "And the more people drawn to fantasy, the better it is for the magazine."

Self-expression then and now, according to a Broadway Costumes press release: "Twenty years ago, body painting was 'in' in uninhibited ways. In 1987, it is true that more and more men and women are experimenting with Halloween or Theatrical Makeup, but now people are applying it in predetermined ways--from instruction booklets, from video tapes or having professional makeup artists apply it for them."

Party till you forget your IQ. Mensa of Illinois will hold "the world's longest Halloween party" (for its high-IQ members and guests only) at the Holiday Inn O'Hare/Kennedy this weekend. The three-day affair will include competitive joke telling; seminars on 43 topics including tarot cards, AIDS, improvisational theater, bedroom music, and the stock market; a luncheon featuring TV weatherman John Coleman; and a costume ball. At last year's gig, a woman appeared reading a book, flanked by two people in lion costumes--"reading between the lions." If that didn't knock you off your chair, you're probably overqualified to attend.

"There is certainly no secret agenda to keep blacks out of the Criminal Division," Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Harry Comerford tells Chicago Lawyer's Patricia Haller (October 1987). Still, four out of five Cook County criminal defendants are black, while only 2 of the 40 Criminal Division judges are.

Where did the antidrug money go? Not where it was supposed to, according to Neighborhoods (August/September 1987), newsletter of the Chicago Alliance for Neighborhood Safety. "Thirty percent, or $2.2 million, of Illinois' $7.47 million appropriation from the 1986 federal Omnibus Drug Act was to be allocated to community groups for drug-abuse treatment and prevention programs." They didn't get most of it. When the Chicago-based coalition National Peoples Action began asking where the money was, first they got conflicting answers. Eventually they learned that state bureaucrats had sneaked $1.7 million of the $2.2 million to the state police for Project DARE--which trains uniformed police officers to teach fifth and sixth graders to "say no to drugs."

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment